Recently I started reading Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow by Chip Conley after a friend of mine sent it to me in the mail unannounced. Chip Conley is the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, which is one of the largest boutique hotel firms in the country. I had the opportunity to meet Chip in 2006 at a Baltimore conference on delivering great experiences where he talked about the importance of corporate culture and employee development. At the time, I didn’t believe in corporate culture as the guiding principle, as I do now, but I remember Chip as being thoughtful and engaging.
In the book Peak, Chip articulates my shared belief that companies are one of the best vehicles possible to change the world for the better by helping employees achieve their full potential at work and in life. Wikipedia defines self-actualization from writer Abraham Maslow as the following:
The desire for self-fulfillment, namely the tendency for him [the individual] to become actualized in what he is potentially.
Much like startups are a vehicle to build community leaders, startups are also vehicles to help people maximize their potential and really push the limits of their capabilities, in a good way. Startups, unique from many other work environments, empower employees to wear different hats and work on a wider range of projects when compared to a traditional company. This exposure, and the corresponding challenges, increases the likelihood that the team member will find what they enjoy doing, stretch them to get better, and result in more self-fulfillment. It doesn’t always work out, but for people it does, the startup helps in their self-actualization journey.
What else? What are some other ways self-actualization can be the outcome of a startup?